E-Cigarettes Might Not Cause Heart Attacks, Says Tobacco Researcher Brad Rodu

Reason reports that a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that linked e-cigarettes to subsequent heart attacks is misleading. Brad Rodu, a tobacco researcher at the University of Louisville, claims that the e-cigarette users that reported heart attacks — also known as myocardial infarctions (MI) — had them before they began vaping.

Rodu claims that the researchers behind the study "failed to account for detailed information in that survey on (a) when participants were first told that they had a heart attack and (b) when participants first started using e-cigarettes."

Although the study acknowledged the possibility that MIs took place before e-cigarette use and highlighted its limitations, the authors did a secondary analysis that examined people who had heart attacks starting in 2007 or after — when "e-cigarettes started gaining popularity on the US market." The secondary analysis was intended to address the limitations of the first analysis, but Rodu suggests that the resulting data from this analysis is also misleading.

"The main findings from the Bhatta-Glantz study are false and invalid," Rodu wrote in a July 11 letter to JAHA along with University of Louisville research economist Nantaporn Plurphanswat, who examined the study's limitations with Rodu. "Their analysis was an indefensible breach of any reasonable standard for research on association or causation."

But the controversial study's co-author Stanton Glantz accused Rodu of being a "tobacco industry apologist" and pointed to the unrestricted grants he receives from tobacco companies. Regardless, Glantz didn't address the purported problems with the research that Rodu raised.

Heart attacks aren't the only danger that e-cigarettes have been accused of creating. Per The Inquisitr, a 17-year-old teen suffered from damaged teeth, a bloody mouth, and a hole in his jaw due to a vape pen explosion. KFOR reports that the case is one of many among thousands of other instances of e-cigarettes explosions.

"People need to know before they buy these devices that there's a possibility they're going to blow up in your pocket, in your face," said Katie Russell, the trauma medical director at Primary Children's Hospital.

Given the potential dangers of e-cigarettes, many are warning people to be wary of e-cigarette use and point to their lack of regulation. Experts are pushing for increased regulation to ensure safety and proper design. Others such as Ray Story, the founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, are wary of regulation and claim that it could harm manufacturers.

"The industry can always do more," he said before suggesting that some accidents are the result of customers not using the products properly.